Blanc de Noirs Brut 1er Cru NV
(75cl reduced from £40.95) 100% Pinot Noir, 80% being from Bisseuil, and 20% from Ambonnay. Ripe grapes means that this wine has quite a deep colour, almost oeuil-de-perdrix. Very fine and persistent bubble, full-flavoured with good acidity to give it 'peps'. Gorgeous. L&S (Jul 2018)
*Case price discount: Mix any 12 bottles (or 9l equivalent) of wine or 6 bottles of Champagne, Spirits, Sweet Wine or Fortified to get the 'case price' for each bottle.
For me blanc de noirs – made only with black grapes – is true winter champagne, sappy, structured, with a faint tinge of black cherries, a wine you can imagine drinking on a frosty day. This one has incredible finesse and charm. A real find.'Victoria Moore, The Daily Telegraph(Nov 2020)
Or you could go for one of the many grower-producers who have emerged in the past 20 years to shake up the grandes marques, such as the quite thrilling (and pound for pound, in the Champagne context, remarkable value) blancs de noir from Gonet-Médeville, with its laser-guided richness and lipsmacking, saline finish.David Williams, The Observer(Dec 2019)
Apart from a whisper of pink/copper in the colour, there’s fruit and brioche richness riveted by lively freshness in this all-Pinot Noir Champagne from a grower in Bisseuil in the Marne Valley.Joanna Simon, www.joannasimon.com(Dec 2019)
Xavier has twelve hectares in total, spread across eight villages. There are three Grands Crus, Le Mesnil sur Oger, Oger and Ambonnay, as well as five Premiers Crus, Mareuil sur Ay, Bisseuil (where he has a substantial 4.8 hectare plot), Billy Le Grand, Trépail and Vaudemange.
In 1996 Xavier met Julie Médeville (of the Bordeaux family which owns the Graves Château Respide Médeville and the Sauternes Château Gilette) at a tasting in Reims, and they married the following year. Xavier set out on a path to quality from the moment he was in charge in 2000, and is keen to emphasise what he does and does not do. "One press makes nine barrels - and it all goes into barrel, all divided according to the parcels it comes from.", he says, "no malo, no chaptalisation, no filtration, and the wines are left in barrel to stabilise. The red wines are properly red. The non-vintages are around 70-80% of the current year, with up to 30% reserves, normally just 20% of the previous year and 10% of the year before that."
Our first visit here was a joy, seeing the vineyard in Bisseuil, which is all in one block, on a sunny south-facing slope, which is perfect for achieving full ripeness. The tasting after so much anticipation is always an anxious moment on both sides, but the 'Tradition' does not let him down - indeed it sets the bar very high - simply delicious, and we both know that we are on the right track. The Rosé both surprises and delights because it is so different - almost all Chardonnay except the the red used for colour, it is a sprightly apéritif rosé. The micro-cuvées that make up the rest of the range are the stuff of future legend, rare, but worth seeking out.
"What made me want to make Champagne was wines from '29, '45, '55, '59, '61, '64 - I want to make wines like that", says Xavier. You need have no fear of cellaring these wines to see how they evolve, however delicious they are now.
Good things certainly come in small packages with this selection. One of those cases makes you very thirsty indeed when looking at the what's inside! Exquisite Champagne, super fine Burgundy and Bordeaux and topped off with a rich nutty fruit cake of a port. Mmm yes please.
Christmas is definitely the time of the year to explore our Grower Champagne. We have put together 3 pairs of our favourite wines, from the ethereal Larmandier-Bernier Longitude to the rich Barnaut Blanc de Noirs and the complex Gonet-Médeville Blanc de Noirs 1er Cru.
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